By Tim McGraw, country music artist
The Neighbor's Keeper Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is a charitable organization that my wife, Faith, and I founded in 2004 to help people in need and encourage the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors. It seeks to strengthen communities throughout the United States by contributing to diverse projects, with primary emphasis on children's initiatives.
Faith and I chose the name "Neighbor's Keeper" because we felt it really summed up the responsibility each of us has to one another. We were both raised in small Southern towns where people were always willing to lend a helping hand, and we've been blessed with the opportunity to do the same through Neighbor's Keeper.
When I was growing up in Start, Louisiana, one of my greatest heroes was my basketball coach, Larry Butler. Not only was he a terrific coach, he made sure that we learned what it meant to be part of a team off the court, too. When it flooded – which it did every year – Coach Butler would load up his players in the back of his truck and take us to the local cotton gin where there was a huge pile of sand. We would fill sand bags, load them in the truck and bring them to people's yards and anywhere else they might be needed. It was Coach Butler's way of teaching us how to give back to our community, a premise that is central to The Neighbor's Keeper Fund.
When news breaks about a pressing need, Neighbor's Keeper moves quickly to identify how its resources can have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. Then we find the local organization that is best suited to the task – and we give them the funds they need to get the job done.
Every day you can make a difference in the lives of the people around you. I encourage you to seek out ways to strengthen your own community. And if you'd like to join us in our mission at The Neighbor's Keeper Fund, please check out our website at http://timmcgraw.com/neighbors-keeper.html. Together we can accomplish great things!